Living the dream
As a freshman at
Northwest College, Natalie Grant thought she wanted to be a schoolteacher.
She tabled her passion for music ministry, content — she
thought — to limit her musical gifts to sharing with her
local church. What she learned at Northwest, an Assemblies of
God college in Kirkland, Wash., was how to find God’s true
calling for her life. She auditioned for the traveling music group
Truth, which launched her career in contemporary Christian music.
Today the 32-year-old singer/songwriter is living her dream. Nominated
for multiple Dove awards, including female vocalist of the year,
the Seattle native has found her niche in Nashville. She spoke
recently with Assistant Editor Ashli O’Connell about her
Assemblies of God heritage and the effect that an A/G college
education has had on her life.
PE: Why did
you choose to attend Northwest College?
I grew up in an Assemblies of God church, and the Northwest choir
came to sing at my church every year. I knew it was an environment
where I would be surrounded by Christian students and receive
a quality education.
PE: Tell me
about your experience there.
I’ll never forget it. I made lifelong friendships at Northwest,
but the thing I remember best is that’s where I received
my call from God to do music ministry full-time.
PE: Your husband
went to Evangel University. Both of you have had the experience
of an Assemblies of God college education. What impact has that
had on you?
Even though both of us were raised in church, we realized in college
how little we actually knew about our faith. Being able to enroll
in Old Testament and New Testament survey classes and apologetics
and similar courses gives you such a firm foundation not only
for your faith but also for your life. Whatever career you’re
going to go into, an Assemblies of God school gives you that strong
I think that’s
a key thing for students considering going to an Assemblies of
God college or university. These are schools where you can receive
a quality education for whatever it is you want to do with your
life. Plus you get an incredible spiritual foundation to build
your life on. I think it’s important to know that this isn’t
just where you go if you want to be a pastor, but this is a place
where you can go if you want to be a teacher or a nurse or a businessman.
You can get an incredible, quality education.
PE: What advice
do you have for young people about pursuing their dreams?
I think that I am a prime example of somebody who really is living
her dream. I used to hold my hairbrush and sing to my stuffed
animals, and now it’s turned into a real microphone and
real people. But I never thought I could do it. Honestly, that’s
why I decided to be a schoolteacher. I was too afraid of failure.
And there’s no faith in that. It really wasn’t until
I got to Northwest and came to the place where I really felt like
God had called me that I put my faith into action.
important is allowing God to illuminate your path. I’ve
had so many challenges in my career, so many tests. My first two
record companies went out of business. I lost my deal. There were
challenges. It wasn’t something that just happened overnight.
But in those moments I had to lean back on, “Is this what
I am really called to do?” And as I sought the Lord, He
illuminated my path so that I could walk on the path that He has
designed for me.
PE: Tell me
a little about your recent album, Worship with Natalie Grant
When I got the chance to be involved with producing this album,
I thought, What is it I wish I had more of? We have tons of worship
CDs that cater to the guitar-driven, acoustic-driven style of
music. But really there’s not a whole lot out there for
that urban church or multicultural church. I didn’t want
to do just another worship CD. I wanted to do something different
that was a style of music I loved my whole life. I got to pick
songs I liked singing and do them the way I always wished I could
PE: Is there
something in your background that drew you to that multicultural
For some reason, when I was growing up and all my little girlfriends
were listening to Amy Grant, I was listening to CeCe Winans and
Andraé Crouch. That was just always the kind of music that
I loved. I grew up listening to Motown. Nobody can figure it out
— because I grew up in the birthplace of grunge, but I missed
that whole scene and fell in love with black gospel music.
PE: Tell me
about your involvement with Redeem the Vote.
It’s basically the Christian music industry’s answer
to Rock the Vote, which is what MTV does. We’re not telling
young people to vote one way or the other, but we’re saying
that, as an American and as a Christian, you have to stand up
and be heard. It’s an incredible privilege that we cannot
take for granted because we have men and women who are losing
their lives every day in another country in order to give those
people that same right.
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